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Articles by Ben Eltham

Funny business: what makes the Comedy Festival so popular?

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is, by some measures, the largest cultural festival in the country. When did comedy became such big business?

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Is money for Australian art in Venice a little rich?

Australia is getting a new pavilion at the Venice Biennale, largely funded by private donors. But very few of us will ever see it. The rich are spending more on art, but do we really benefit?

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Post-Crean, arts shake-up begins — with winners and losers

Simon Crean is gone, but the Gillard government is pressing on with its Australia Council reforms. It might face opposition to the decision to scrap artform-specific representation.

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Do government film subsidies add up? Yes, and no

The federal government is giving a big Hollywood studio $21 million to film a remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in Australia. Is it money well spent? It does return, but not where it’s needed.

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Massive step for dance, speaking to new audiences

Contemporary dance enjoys renewed attention — and attracts large audiences — as part of the Dance Massive festival in Melbourne. It’s driving innovative new projects in Australia.

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My Cup of Tea: Crean’s cultural policy in jeopardy

Simon Crean’s suicide mission has left Australia without an arts minister. Is the recently developed cultural policy dead in the water?

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Arts funding winners grin, but some criticism for Crean report

As the dust begins to settle on Simon Crean’s Creative Australia policy, most arts and cultural leaders have been overwhelmingly supportive of the new plan. But there are a few dissenting voices.

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National Cultural Policy out at last — and it’s a big win for arts

The federal government’s National Cultural Policy, released today, is a big win for the arts generally — it’s got new money and plenty of policy reform. But there are losers.

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Labor are ‘philistines’ on arts: Brandis ignites policy debate

Get set: we might finally be about to have a genuine debate on arts policy. Ahead of the long-awaited release of Labor’s National Cultural Policy, shadow minister George Brandis fires up to Crikey.

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Digital killed the community radio stars? Conroy’s fight with DJs

Community radio broadcasters around Australia say government funding to make the digital transition will come up short. Musicians are worried about the consequences.

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Filmmakers’ Tropo choice: insecurity or obscurity

Artists’ desperate fight for recognition results in blood, sweat and tears going unrewarded — and unpaid. Just ask filmmakers who enter the Tropfest short film competition every year.

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And the centre of arts innovation is … Perth

Western Australia’s cultural scene is flourishing. As Perth booms with mining wealth, its international festivals are expanding and the local scene is a melting pot of renewed creativity.

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Creative partnerships: a new approach to giving in the arts

Philanthropy in the arts is due for a shake-up. Crikey talks to the CEO of the federal government’s new arts philanthropy organisation, Creative Partnerships Australia.

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‘Not just a whole lot of nice gigs’: life in arts bureaucracy

What does an arts funding agency look like from the inside? Crikey chats with former deputy director-general of Arts Queensland Leigh Tabrett to find out.

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Creative jobs: maybe that arts degree isn’t so useless after all

Worried about a career in the arts? It’s not as bad as you may think. Journalists and printers may be on the scrap heap, but there are more artists employed than ever according to new data.

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Lights, camera, crowdfunding: how films are made Pozible

Start-up filmmakers are increasingly turning to crowdfunding websites to finance projects. The Pozible platform has even partnered government agencies to boost cash in the sector.

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Big Day gets out, and smaller is probably better

With the Big Day Out on the hunt for a new site, the economic impact of big festivals has never been more important. But are tourist dollars really the best way to measure the impact of cultural events?

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Screen Oz calls cut on funds — drama ends six months early

Australian film and television funding body Screen Australia has spent all its drama budget — six months ahead of the end of the financial year. How could it let the kitty get so low?

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Theatre reviewer’s curtain call shows bare stage of criticism

Australia’s best blog devoted to theatre criticism has frozen in time. There are fewer opportunities for thoughtful arts criticism, robbing culture of important conversations.

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Media, cultural policy: pieces of the puzzle not in place

Australia is entering a “convergent media policy moment”, according to academic Terry Flew. How will the various pieces of the cultural puzzle fit together on this difficult issue?

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Govt kills the (community) radio stars, stations fear

Community radio — which plays more Australian music than commercial rivals — relies on a government-funded project to put tracks to air. But will that money be there in 2013?

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After social media storm, NSW arts funding magically appears

The power of social media has helped roll back funding cuts to two prominent regional arts organisations in NSW, HotHouse Theatre in Albury-Wodonga and the renowned Renew Newcastle project.

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An artistic map with routes to another country

Fremantle Arts Centre’s current exhibition We Don’t Need A Map is an artistic journey into a unique part of Australia, giving local desert people the chance to tell their stories.

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Subsidies boost TV production, gamers promised more

Simon Crean was talking up the government’s response to the Convergence Review at this year’s Screen Producer’s Conference. TV producers — and game developers — are confident of a boost.

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Arts is local, storytelling digital, in co-creative communities

Community arts and cultural development is in transition. There might be a lack of policy direction, but grassroots organisations are getting on with the business of creating.

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Womens Agenda

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Smart Company

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StartupSmart

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Property Observer

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